Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Tipping Point

We have a real surplus of news. And that is a good thing. I was able to stay "in touch" yesterday with a wide variety of news resources and the flow of information is nothing short of impressive! As usual, the very best resource seems to be National Public Radio, with amazing, in depth stories, coming from the middle east.

Most impressive is a story on NPR's Day to Day with Alex Chadwick and photojournalist Stephanie Sinclair complete with some of Sinclair's photographs. I strongly urge all Wizard readers to listen to the story and view the photographs. Link: CLICK HERE

We also have a real surplus of opinions. And I have to believe that is a good thing, too.

I read a few dozen blogs yesterday, but there are tens of thousands by most estimates. To be certain not all are politically oriented, but many have opinions of the current Israeli ~ Palestinian conflict.

And the news media is "Chock Full 'o Nuts" loaded with a lot more opinions than actual news reports. The cable news channels are especially guilty of this. Fox, MSNBC and CNN have apparently discovered it's a lot cheaper to hire retired generals and political hacks than real reporters who gather real news.

Isn't it amazing that each network can, every single hour of the day, locate two different military retires with absolutely opposing opinions on any subject. It makes you wonder how the military ever actually gets anything done.

I hate it when any columnist/blogger/commentator reaches the "tipping point" in their political view and is no longer able to be objective or even rational.

You know what I mean. The "tipping point" is when a commentator becomes so obsessed with his or her opinion that he/she can longer be rational or objective about a particular subject. This can happen in any arena from global warming to stem cell research, but it usually involves either the President (and conservatives in general) or the Democrats (and liberals in general).

Occasionally, going over the "tipping point" can be a good thing. Ann Coulter is a great example. She is so far over the tipping point, she has turned it into an art form. In fact, it's that completely biased view of the world that allows her to be one of the funniest, brightest and most insightful satirists writing today. It's a fine line between irrationality and brilliance.

Notice I didn't say Ann Coulter was always right in her opinions. By definition, by being over the tipping point, she is actually incapable of being objective. She is often wrong, occasionally downright crazy. But she is always funny, often right on target and always worth reading. If you haven't read her column this week, CLICK HERE

Don't tell me you haven't thought exactly what Ann says this week, "Most Americans have been glued to their TV sets, transfixed by Israel's show of power, wondering, 'Gee, why can't we do that?' "

President Bush is certainly most polarizing of all modern politicians. Bush has pushed (or pulled) many commentators and bloggers over the tipping point. I personally have been most disappointed by Chris Matthews on MSNBC, who I believe is one of the brightest and most insightful political commentators around today. But watching Chris yesterday it became obvious his hatred (dislike? distrust?) of President Bush taints his observations and makes them significantly less valid.

I apologize that I don't have a link to prove my point. His blog (CLICK HERE) doesn't reflect his strong (practically irrational) bias. In fact his blog is so boring it doesn't even reflect his personality. If his show was as deadly dull as his blog, no one would ever watch (and the ratings indicate very few watch now).

Chris, if you're going to be as biased as Ann Coulter, you need to be a heck of a lot funnier!

But it is the sum total of all the bloggers and commentators from Coulter to Matthews that leads me to believe Israel has made a huge and tragic mistake in it's current war with Hezbollah and Hamas. Almost every commentator believes the key to Israel's future and to peace in the middle east seems to be a strong, viable democratic Lebanon.

Israel, in its effort to defeat Hezbollah, has destroyed entirely too much of Lebanon's infrastructure. The democratically elected government will have great difficulty governing or supplying minimal physical or social services.

Nature abhors a vacuum. But it's a vacuum that Israel has created. And Hezbollah, far from being damaged, is actually strengthened by the current war. Sure, Israel can wipe out all the missiles, blow up the roads and destroy the electrical plants, but each bomb dropped by Israel converts one more heart or mind to the Hezbollah cause.

When the democratically elected government can't provide services or protect the people, they will turn to Hezbollah. Israel risks winning the battle and losing the war. All bloggers and commentors seem to agree on that, even those over the "tipping point."


Vigilante said...

I hope you won't think I have gone over the tipping point, if I say I agree with you. Completely.

July 20, 2006 9:17 AM  
John said...

You say that Israel has made a mistake, but in your left wing bias you don't even mention the terrorists who started this conflict in the first place when they invaded Israel and murdered and kidnapped. Aren't these murderous terroristic thugs that ones who made the mistake?

As long as Hezbollah is allowed to exist there will be no peace for Israel. Israel cannot have an armed force on it's northern border that has pledged it's destruction. There is no negotiating with these terrorists. Israel's only course is the total and utter destruction of Hezbollah. If the Lebanese don't like it, that's too bad. They allowed Hezbollah to remain armed in violation of specific UN resolutions, and they even invited the terrorist into their government. As you know, Hezbollah holds seats in the Lebanese cabinet.

And don't look to the corrupt UN for help. UN observers were already on the border and they didn't stop the terrorists from invading Israel. The UN has got to stay out of this.

President Bush is right to support Israel's self defense. Israel has got to militarily defeat those who would destroy her. There is no other choice.


July 20, 2006 2:01 PM  
Vigilante said...

John, the only thing in your post I would agree with you is that (a) Hezbollah made a mistake and (b) Israel has a right to defend itself.

But I have news for you, which I think would really be to your benefit, because you say:

As long as Hezbollah is allowed to exist there will be no peace for Israel.

The news for you is that Hezbollah will continue to exist, indefinitely. Think of Hezbollah as a pack of flies; as long as there is blood, its swarm figures to breed and multiply. It is arguably more highly regarded among Arabs than Osama because it has been given credit - wrongly - that it has been the only Arab military organization able to defeat the Israelis'. The only hope was that as it leadership aged and become more opulent, like many political organizations, it would become more moderate and parliamentary. That hope is gone. War will rejuvenate its militancy. Israel, opting for the one-state option for Palestine, has also opted against all hope for even unfriendly accommodation with the Arab world.

The our tragedy is that Bush has opted for that, too. Americans will have to contend with intermittent but endless chaos in the vicinity of the sands under which the oil upon which we are dependent is buried.

It didn't have to happen this way. Read Rosa Brooks' column today in the L.A. Times, Bush's Burned Bridges:

The Middle East cataclysm is the last gasp of America's wasted post-9/11 opportunity. . . And it happened so quickly.

Finally, I don't have a left wing bias. My bias is to American national interests. I wish yours was, too.

July 21, 2006 11:28 AM  
John said...

After decades of cycles of being attacked, retaliating, told to quit winning, which allows their enemies to resupply and recruit new members and begin the cycle all over again, the rest of the world, including the Vatican, is pissed off because Israel isn’t fighting fair?

And Lebanon, who hasn’t lifted a finger to get the terrorists out of their own country, is bitching about Israel doing the job that they refuse to do, and is threatening to join the terrorists in repelling Israel should they come in to finish the job that they wouldn’t do?

Do I have that just about right?

Sometimes I’ve very proud to be an American and extremely proud of the fact that we seem to be the only country on the planet that’s on Israel’s side.

I’m curious…does that assume that the rest of the world, including you is okay with Israel’s destruction? After a day like today, I have to wonder.

You said that Hezbollah cannot be destroyed, but that's just wishful thinking on your part. I just saw that the US is busy resupplying Israel with more armaments. Israel will continue it's defensive measures in Lebanon until the job gets done whether you like it or not.

July 22, 2006 8:20 PM  

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